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Southold Town considers adding new agricultural definitions

Southold Town Agricultural Advisory Committee

The Southold Town Agricultural Advisory Committee has created a new set of agricultural definitions for the Town Board to consider since only a few currently exist in the code.

During the Town Board’s work session Tuesday morning, committee chairman Chris Baiz gave a presentation of his group’s findings and said only three out of 210 definitions in the town code currently define agriculture: agricultural production, farm stand and roadside stand.

The committee has had many discussions in creating clear and concise definitions to help guide the town in making decisions to make agricultural economically viable, he said.

“Because of our high cost structures here starting with land — let alone utility costs, taxes and everything else — the Town of Southold’s agriculture can’t afford just to be a raw crop commodity agricultural industry anymore,” Mr. Baiz said.  

The committee has proposed adding several agricultural definitions, including: farm operation, farm building, agricultural production building, agricultural processing, aquaculture and mariculture.

Councilman Jim Dinizio said he’s concerned about creating a more definitive code on agriculture.

“There’s always going to be something that we miss,” he said, adding he believes approvals for new farm operations be considered on a case-by-case basis to allow for more flexibility. 

The Town Board is expected to further review the committee’s proposed definitions at the Feb. 14 work session. 

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Photo: Southold Town Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting with the Southold Town Board during Tuesday’s work session. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)